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Henry "Hank" Thomas

Civil rights activist and entrepreneur Henry “Hank” Thomas was born on August 29, 1941 in Jacksonville, Florida to Tina R. Heggs and James Cobb. Thomas graduated from Richard J. Murray High School in St. Augustine, Florida in 1959, and received a scholarship to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. At Howard, Thomas participated in lunch counter sit-ins, and was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In May of 1961, Thomas and the other Freedom Riders travelled to the South to protest segregation laws. Thomas was first arrested in Winnsboro, South Carolina, but was soon released. He then survived a firebombing in Anniston, Alabama. Arriving in Jackson, Mississippi, Thomas and the other Freedom Riders were arrested; and upon his release from Parchman State Prison Farm, Thomas was the first Freedom Rider to appeal his conviction, which was upheld by the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1964, but reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 195. Thomas was arrested twenty-two times over the course of his civil rights activism.

In 1965, Thomas served in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Army Medic, and was awarded the Purple Heart for his service. After his tour ended in 1966, Thomas moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he and a business partner purchased and operated a Laundromat. After selling his share of the Laundromat, Thomas acquired a Dairy Queen franchise, and then a Burger King franchise, before becoming the franchisee of six McDonald’s restaurants. Thomas went on to own four Marriott Hotels, two Fairfield Inns, and two TownePlace Suites. He was the president of Victoria Hospitality Properties, Inc. and vice-president of Hayon, Inc., which owned and operated McDonald’s restaurants in the Atlanta area. In 1993, Thomas was one of three U.S. veterans to travel to Vietnam for a reconciliation meeting with North Vietnamese soldiers.

Thomas received numerous awards for his civil rights activism and his business achievements. In 2010, he was inducted into the Atlanta Business League Men of Influence Hall of Fame and received the 365black Award given by McDonald’s Inc. In 2011, he was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. He was a lifetime member of the NAACP, and served on the board of trustees for Morehouse School of Medicine.

Thomas and his wife, Yvonne Thomas, have two children and four grandchildren.

Henry “Hank” Thomas was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 1, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.066

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/2/2016

Last Name

Thomas

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

James

Schools

Richard J. Murray High School

First Name

Henry

Birth City, State, Country

Jacksonville

HM ID

THO23

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

I'll Be Doggone.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/29/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Black eyed oeas and rice, chicken

Short Description

Civil rights activist and entrepreneur Henry "Hank" Thomas (1941 - ) was a founding member the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and of a Freedom Riders. Later, he became the president of Victoria Hospitality, Inc., the vice president of Hayon, Inc. and a McDonald’s franchisee.

Employment

United States Army

Atlanta Fire Department

Laundramat

Hayon Inc. Group

Victoria Hospitality Partners

Favorite Color

Brown

Louis Jones

Louis Jones is president of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors for the Black Contractors United. He was born on July 1, 1946 in Hunstville, Alabama to Arthur and Alberta Jones. His father was a farmer and construction worker in the South, but when his family moved to Chicago his father became a baker with the A&P grocery chain factories. Jones attended Tilden Technical High School before earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle in 1973. In 1969, Jones began working for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill architects. In 1973, Jones began working for McKee-Berger-Mansueto as a School Rehab Manager.

In 1975, Jones became a licensed architect and moved to San Francisco, where he worked for a private consulting firm. He moved back to Chicago three years later and began working for Schal Associates. Between 1978 and 1984, Schal Associates built the Avondale Center, Madison Plaza, the Chicago Tribune Printing Plant, and the Magnificent Mile. In 1984, Jones became president of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc., specializing in engineering, construction, management, consulting, and architecture. The following year, Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc. was part of the $1.7 billion renovation and expansion of O’Hare International Airport. The firm also was hired to work on Provident Hospital in 1990 and McCormick Place in 1997. In 2008, Jones' firm was hired to be part of the team to build the University of Illinois’, the James Stukel Towers student housing complex.

Since 1986, Jones sat on the Board of Directors for Black Contractors United and was elected Chairman of the Board in 1998. He was also selected to serve on the Mayor of Chicago’s Task Force for Minority & Women Business Development in 2005. Jones was a member of the Illinois Capital Development Board and has served as president pro tempore of the Illinois Department of Employment Security Advisory Board.

Louis Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 27, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.030

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/27/2010

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Bret Harte Math and Science Magnet Cluster School

Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School

University of Illinois at Chicago

First Name

Louis

Birth City, State, Country

Huntsville

HM ID

JON23

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Fishing

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

7/1/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Estero

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Architect and corporate chief executive Louis Jones (1946 - ) was president of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc. and served on the board of directors for the Black Contractors United.

Employment

Skidmore Owings & Merrill

McKee, Berger & Mansueto

Schal Associates

Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.

The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company

Regal Theater

Johnson and Jones Architects

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:967,166:6953,352:46400,865:46736,870:47660,888:48248,900:48668,906:51524,998:53624,1049:54380,1076:68748,1217:69312,1224:80506,1406:81437,1414:86141,1431:91562,1524:100638,1760:101048,1766:101540,1773:103918,1820:109640,1905:110315,1917:110765,1924:111590,1936:112040,1943:113165,1983:126720,2353:158060,2587:159028,2603:165892,2741:166332,2747:176140,2880:176750,2886:178214,2911:185388,2988:186868,3009:189930,3024:190504,3033:190832,3039:197682,3130:203990,3189:205115,3202:208865,3235:209395,3251:210735,3279:218514,3441:221550,3499:225372,3522:225660,3527:229620,3659:235596,3772:239340,3847:239988,3857:251484,3999:252023,4009:252947,4024:256566,4122:270344,4257:271124,4269:274088,4343:276428,4392:281810,4499:283916,4533:284306,4539:284618,4544:298128,4712:298602,4719:300182,4746:306423,4803:308635,4925:317120,4985$0,0:546,13:1183,22:11792,362:21115,492:21625,499:27973,565:28458,572:34220,744:34692,749:50595,963:52263,978:66368,1167:71510,1181:78588,1291:80350,1298:82520,1309:89133,1436:91134,1477:94266,1518:100704,1676:102096,1712:112743,1819:115250,2004:132855,2120:133380,2128:136605,2205:139605,2287:141555,2346:145980,2477:155944,2628:157010,2645:160448,2673:161032,2683:161470,2690:162638,2709:163514,2726:165266,2763:165631,2769:168040,2874:169865,2897:170157,2910:170741,2919:172274,2954:177718,2998:179632,3033:180241,3041:181938,3055:190254,3260:190639,3266:191178,3284:192102,3309:192487,3315:192949,3322:193642,3335:204611,3455:206090,3487:211874,3585:214490,3628
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Louis Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Louis Jones lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Louis Jones describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Louis Jones describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Louis Jones remembers his paternal uncle, James Jones, Jr.

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Louis Jones talks about his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Louis Jones talks about his family's history of enslavement

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Louis Jones describes his father's work at The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Louis Jones describes his family's community in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Louis Jones describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Louis Jones recalls his homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Louis Jones lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Louis Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Louis Jones describes his experiences at Bret Harte Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Louis Jones recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Louis Jones recalls his friends at Bret Harte Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Louis Jones remembers his near drowning at the Hyde Park YMCA in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Louis Jones describes his experiences at Tilden Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Louis Jones talks about his part time job at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Louis Jones remembers his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Louis Jones describes his decision to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Louis Jones remembers the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Louis Jones recalls his peers and professors at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Louis Jones talks about the visiting professors at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Louis Jones describes his architectural thesis

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Louis Jones talks about his favorite architectural style

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Louis Jones describes his part time position at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Louis Jones recalls his graduation from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Louis Jones describes his organizational involvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Louis Jones describes his duties at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Louis Jones remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Louis Jones describes his transition to McKee Berger Mansueto, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Louis Jones describes the role of a construction manager

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Louis Jones talks about his construction projects in California and Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Louis Jones describes his building projects with Schal Associates, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Louis Jones describes the founding of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Louis Jones talks about his early projects at Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Louis Jones talks about the redevelopment of the Provident Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Louis Jones recalls his work on the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Louis Jones talks about the construction of the McCormick Place South Building in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Louis Jones talks about his involvement with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Black Contractors United

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Louis Jones talks about his children

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Louis Jones talks about the success of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Louis Jones remembers the contracts secured by Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Louis Jones describes his current projects at Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Louis Jones reflects upon the specialty of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Louis Jones describes his role in the construction of ACE Technical Charter High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Louis Jones talks about his work at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Louis Jones talks about his organizational involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Louis Jones describes the changes in building design after September 11, 2001

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Louis Jones describes the process of building a hospital

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Louis Jones describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Louis Jones talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Louis Jones reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Louis Jones narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Louis Jones describes the founding of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.
Louis Jones recalls his work on the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
And from Schal [Schal Associates, Inc., Chicago, Illinois], where did you go? And what year was this?$$Well Schal, I came to work for Schal in, in June of 1978 from, from San Francisco [California], and worked on 200 South Wacker [200 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois], Tribune plant [Freedom Center, Chicago, Illinois]. Then Schal joint ventured with McHugh [James McHugh Construction Company, Chicago, Illinois] and I was the project director for the North Hall of McCormick Place [McCormick Place North Building, Chicago, Illinois]. And that went through a couple iterations where it went way over budget and they, they started trying to pull it back and work on it. And at that time, a friend of mine, Eric Johnson, who I went to school with [at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle; University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois], we had a side business that was Johnson and Jones Architects [ph.]. So in the evening I would leave Schal, go around the corner and I had the license, I had gotten my architect's license. So I would look at the drawings that were being done, seal them, sign them, go home. So Schal kind of got wind of it. And this was in the era when there was big affirmative action pushes and Harold Washington, you know, was, was, was getting, getting in--in line to be mayor, you know, it was like in eighty--'82 [1982], '83 [1983] or something like that. So we started talking and they became a mentor company and they wanted to ow- hold a third of the deal and we were going to create Louis Jones Enterprises [Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc., Chicago, Illinois]. So I said okay, I don't wanna be accused of fronting for a big white company, so I gotta get somebody to look at this. So Sam Hurley [Samuel Hurley] was first deputy director, he's African American engineer, he's first deputy director of public works for the City of Chicago [Illinois]. And he was also on the city's affirmative action committee. Now they call it affirmative action. So I had Sam look at it. And he said, "Well, I know you Lou [HistoryMaker Louis Jones], I know you from Schal and all that, you know what you're doing, you're for real and all that kind of stuff. So why don't you, you know, move forward with it and see what." So then I turned it over to [HistoryMaker] Earl Neal who gave it to Anne Fredd [Anne L. Fredd] in his office to evaluate.$$Earl Neal was a black attorney?$$Yeah. And then they kind of got Ja- [HistoryMaker] James Lowry involved. And so Lowry help promulgate it as a good mentor protege thing. So I went with it. And so--and the 29th of February it was incorporated as Louis Jones Enterprises. I was living in Oak Park, Illinois and so they had my home address for a while, and then I had a small office at 440 North Wells [Street]. And so that's how I started a company. And we had a five year buyout deal and all that. In about three years, I bought them out because we were, you know, just something we wanted to do. So we started out working on McCormick Place North to bring it back, because they had sort of mothballed the job because the legislature had not funded it. And then the O'Hare Development Program came about. And by the fall of that year, in 1984, when I opened the company, by the fall of that year I had ten employees and they were all working at O'Hare field [Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois]. And I had been spending quite a bit of time in the prior year as an employee of Schal and then later on as a consultant helping the team that was doing all the budgeting for the O'Hare Development Program. What is the United terminal [United Airlines Terminal 1] gonna cost. What's the inner outer taxi way relocation and widening gonna be, the second taxi way bridge. Did a lot of analysis and studies and stuff on that. And so Dick Unsulman [ph.] was the executive director of the O'Hare Development Program and he sent out a--like an ultimatum, "Either Lou Jones is full time working with me on the O'Hare program," because he was involved with McCormick Place somehow, "or he's working on McCormick Place, which is it." Well my business and my employees were all at O'Hare, so I moved to the O'Hare thing and let the McCormick Place thing go. And I became deputy director of construction management for the O'Hare Development Program. So all of the facilities stuff, they had a deputy director for facilities and a deputy director for infrastructure. So this guy, Dan Kaiser [ph.], was over all the civil stuff like runways and roads, and stuff like that. And I was over all the buildings, like the terminal buildings, the crash fire rescue stations, that kind of stuff. And within a couple years I had twenty-five or thirty employees out there and me spending full time there when I started to pick up other work was getting to be a strain, so I brought in Joe Doddy [ph.] who's still working out there for somebody else, who's a classmate of mine, to be the deputy director for facilities.$What was the next big project that your, your firm [Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc., Chicago, Illinois] had? You had Provident [Provident Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois], you had O'Hare [Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois]?$$The Harold Washington Library [Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago, Illinois] came up and McCormick Place South [McCormick Place South Building, Chicago, Illinois] in the '90s [1990s]. Both were, were done--they had international design competition design build--they wanted design build. And we teamed with a group that call themselves the SEBUS Group, it was Schal [Schal Associates, Inc., Chicago, Illinois], Epstein [A. Epstein and Sons International, Inc., Chicago, Illinois], U.S. Equities [U.S. Equities Realty LLC; CBRE Group, Inc.] and I forget what the B in there was [Hammond, Beeby and Babka, Inc.; Hammond, Beeby, Rupert, Ainge, Inc., Chicago, Illinois]. But we did something like 10, 15 percent of the deal. We had the union crew that--a construction manager operates sort a like general contractor, they have what they call temporary facilities and controls or general conditions. We had a crew of about fifteen laborers, carpenters and one operator, and Barb [Jones' wife, Barbara M. Jones] went through a lot of people because we insisted on hiring African Americans, and we had some issues with that, and we had to really go to--we actually had to do some stuff. 'Cause I wrote a very ugly letter that everybody asked me to burn or shred because if it got to the Sun-Times [Chicago Sun-Times] or something--'cause I was threatening them that they were mani- manipulating me into laying off black folks and hiring Mexicans and white people unfairly. Because I would put a black carpenter out there and--or a black laborer and, and the, the other firms that were involved wou- would complain that they were, they were too slow, they didn't know what they was doing or something. And I said, you know, you're trying to tell me that a journeyman carpenter doesn't know what he's doing, you know, give me a break, you know. So finally--when you start a construction job there's ebbs and flows. At the beginning there is some site work. They're, they're doing the foundations and stuff and you need some laborers around there to do cleanup. You might have a little bit of safety with a carpenter or whatnot, and maybe those guys will get three weeks work or a couple months work, then they get laid off because there's a lull. And then when that thing starts to come out of the ground and it's a project that's big as Harold Washington Library, then you need a full time cleanup crew and you need a couple of people there to do backup safety where the subcontractors don't do the barriers where people might fall, you know. And if you're the general or you're the construction manager you better see that they're done. And even if it's somebody else's duty and then you just back charge them for it. So we had those kind of people. And so that came to nearly fifteen people, and I think we had one white person and one Hispanic, everybody else was black. And there was always some issue. So finally I wrote a letter and I said, "Look, you know, you've manipulated me into laying off my whole crew and then you call and said you wanted these people back and you recommended its people that wasn't black." "We don't want--we don't want that written down, where are the rest of those letters." And so then the edict came down, leave Lou [HistoryMaker Louis Jones] alone, let him hire the people that, you know, he sees fit, as long as they're doing the job.

Dorie Ladner

Civil rights activist Dorie Ann Ladner was born on June 28, 1942, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. As an adolescent, she became involved in the NAACP Youth Chapter where Clyde Kennard served as advisor. Ladner got involved in the Civil Rights Movement and wanted to be an activist after hearing about the murder of Emmitt Till. After graduating from Earl Travillion High School as salutatorian, alongside her sister, Joyce Ladner, she went on to enroll at Jackson State University. Dedicated to the fight for civil rights, during their freshmen year at Jackson State, she and her sister attended state NAACP meetings with Medgar Evers and Eileen Beard. That same year, Ladner was expelled from Jackson State for participating in a protest against the jailing of nine students from Tougaloo College.

In 1961, Ladner enrolled at Tougaloo College where she became engaged with the Freedom Riders. During the early 1960s, racial hostilities in the South caused Ladner to drop out of school three times to join the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1962, she was arrested along with Charles Bracey, a Tougaloo College student, for attempting to integrate the Woolworth’s lunch counter. She joined with SNCC Project Director Robert Moses and others from SNCC and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to register disenfranchised black voters and integrate public accommodations. Ladner’s civil rights work was exemplified when she became one of the founding members of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) in Clarksdale, Mississippi, which included: NAACP, CORE, SNCC, and SCLC.

Then, in 1964, Ladner became a key organizer in the Freedom Summer Project sponsored by the COFO. Throughout her years of working with SNCC, she served on the front line of the Civil Rights Movement in various capacities. She participated in every civil rights march from 1963 to 1968 including the March on Washington in 1963, the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965 and the Poor People’s March in 1968. She was the SNCC project director in Natchez, Mississippi, from 1964 to 1966, and lectured at universities, churches, and other institutions to raise money for the organization. In addition, Ladner was a supporter of the Anti-Vietnam War Movement and worked in the presidential campaigns of Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern. She went on to serve as a community organizer for the Anti Poverty Program in St. Louis, Missouri, and was an advocate for civil rights in housing and employment. Ladner has also worked for the Martin Luther King Library Documentation Center to help collect the history of people who were participants in the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1973, after her marriage and the birth of her only child, Yodit, Ladner earned her B.A. degree from Tougaloo College. In 1974, she moved to Washington, D.C., and enrolled at the Howard University School of Social Work where she earned her MSW degree in 1975. Ladner has served as a clinical social worker in both the Washington, D.C. General Emergency Room and Psychiatry Department for thirty years. Since her retirement, she has continued her work as a social activist by participating in genealogical research, public speaking, anti-war activities (marches against the war in Iraq), and volunteering in the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

Accession Number

A2008.079

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/2/2008 |and| 7/24/2008

Last Name

Ladner

Maker Category
Schools

Earl Travillion High School

Jackson State University

Tougaloo College

De Priest School

First Name

Dorie

Birth City, State, Country

Hattiesburg

HM ID

LAD03

Favorite Season

Spring, Winter

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Freedom Is A Constant Struggle.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

6/28/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Southern Food, Brownies

Short Description

Civil rights activist and city social service worker Dorie Ladner (1942 - ) is a founding member of the Council of Federated Organizations, and participated in the March on Washington, the Selma to Montgomery March, and the Poor People's March. She was the SNCC project director in Natchez, Mississippi, and a clinical social worker in the Washington, D.C. General Emergency Room and Psychiatry Department.

Favorite Color

Bright Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:990,14:1620,22:3060,37:3510,43:19290,332:24330,400:25410,411:30420,430:31630,440:32950,454:40507,488:45120,525:50920,563:51870,576:56102,587:75575,818:75915,823:78465,872:78975,879:83735,1002:84245,1018:84925,1029:85605,1042:92465,1125:95270,1166:97650,1190:100540,1234:101815,1251:119988,1458:120508,1465:121028,1472:129435,1514:132030,1525:133470,1539:134270,1552:135070,1563:142080,1657:143160,1664:144908,1669:154030,1735:158398,1801:181140,2116:181748,2125:183420,2146:186612,2209:193795,2286:194474,2295:198560,2309:204984,2401:205714,2413:206882,2434:232246,2733:238592,2817:240616,2847:249750,2947:252450,2982:253250,2991:255150,3018:277090,3288:312680,3843:314405,3879:314930,3887:315830,3902:316355,3911:320538,3942:323100,3968:325200,3992$0,0:710,7:1270,14:2390,23:37630,454:86160,1014:92337,1141:94251,1173:100329,1254:101433,1271:105096,1324:123860,1535:127970,1563:129174,1584:151691,1898:154720,1915:157030,1953:157690,1960:161650,2020:174368,2203:174728,2209:192608,2558:193012,2563:196550,2568:197208,2577:197866,2595:199840,2625:204400,2675:211430,2752:212230,2761:222958,2840:234796,3015:236830,3025:237395,3031:250111,3213:251637,3231:252073,3236:262370,3325
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dorie Ladner's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner talks about her maternal grandfather and great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner talks about race relations in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dorie Ladner talks about the economic opportunities in Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner describes her paternal grandfather's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner talks about her French ancestry

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner talks about her paternal grandfather's death

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner talks about her relation to Thomas Ladnier

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner describes her father and his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner recalls her decision to stop her genealogical research

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner describes her father

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes her likeness to her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dorie Ladner describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dorie Ladner remembers the community of Palmer's Crossing, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner describes the sights, sounds and smell of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner describes her schooling in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner remembers the murder of Emmett Till

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner recalls her early exposure to African American publications

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner remembers the lynchings in Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner describes the economy in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner describes her education at the De Priest School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner remembers joining the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dorie Ladner recalls matriculating at Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner remembers meeting with Medgar Evers

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner recalls her experiences at Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner describes the history of Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner remembers demonstrating with Tougaloo College students

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner recalls transferring to Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner describes the figures in Mississippi's Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner remembers travelling through the Mississippi Delta

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner remembers meeting Fannie Lou Hamer

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner reflects upon the success of the Civil Rights Movement in rural Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner describes the violence against civil rights organizers

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner remembers Robert Parris Moses

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner recalls joining the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner remembers the imprisonment of Clyde Kennard

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner recalls Clyde Kennard's release from prison

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes the summer of 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dorie Ladner remembers the murder of Medgar Evers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner talks about the African American legislators during Reconstruction

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner remembers Medgar Evers' funeral

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner recalls being jailed after Medgar Evers' funeral

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes the trial of Medgar Evers' murderer

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner recalls being accosted at a bus station by racist whites

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner recalls the funeral of the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner recalls working with SNCC in Natchez, Mississippi

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner recalls the attempted bombing of the SNCC office in Natchez, Mississippi

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner narrates her photographs, pt. 3

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner narrates her photographs, pt. 4

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner recalls the murders of Herbert Lee and Lewis Allen

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner recalls the decision to recruit northern civil rights workers

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes the early membership of SNCC

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner remembers SNCC's recruitment at northern colleges

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner recalls the federal government's opposition to SNCC

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner remembers SNCC's nonviolent action training program

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner remembers the Freedom Summer murders

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner describes the SNCC training program in Oxford, Ohio

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner recalls the mission of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner talks about her civil rights work in Natchez, Mississippi

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner recalls the collaboration between SNCC and the U.S. Department of Justice

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner remembers transporting SNCC volunteers to Mississippi

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner recalls establishing a Freedom House in Natchez, Mississippi

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner talks about race relations in Natchez, Mississippi

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes the attitudes towards outsiders in Mississippi

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner describes her daily activities as a civil rights organizer in Mississippi

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner remembers developing trust with the black community in Natchez, Mississippi

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner describes the white reactions to civil rights workers in Mississippi

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes the violations of her First Amendment rights

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner talks about the importance of her roots in Mississippi

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner talks about SNCC's black northern membership

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner describes the backgrounds of the members of SNCC

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner talks about the role of white women in SNCC

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner recalls the founding of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner recalls the federal response to the Freedom Summer murders

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner describes the objectives of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes the events of the 1964 Democratic National Convention, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner describes the events of the 1964 Democratic National Convention, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner describes the reactions to the 1964 Democratic National Convention

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner recalls the Freedom Summer murder trial

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes the aftermath of the 1964 Democratic National Convention

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner reflects upon SNCC's accomplishments in Mississippi

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner remembers the SNCC retreat in Waveland, Mississippi

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner recalls the transition of civil rights activities to Alabama

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner remember the U.S. Congressional campaigns by SNCC activists

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner recalls the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner reflects upon the strategies of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner reflects upon her life

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner describes SNCC's philosophy of activism

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner talks about the differences between the SCLC and SNCC

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner remembers the March on Washington

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner describes the value of genealogical research

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner describes her family

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner talks about Barack Obama's presidential candidacy

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

2$1

DATape

12$6

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Dorie Ladner reflects upon SNCC's accomplishments in Mississippi
Dorie Ladner describes the trial of Medgar Evers' murderer
Transcript
Well, we were talking about the, the early part of 1965, a retreat in Waverley, Mississippi?$$Waveland.$$Waveland, Mississippi, yeah, Waveland, okay; down on the coast, right? The Gulf Coast (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, Mississippi Gulf Coast.$$Yeah. And you said that the SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] people were kind of beating up on themselves.$$Well, yes. It was a retreat to assess what we had done, our successes and failures, and where were we going from there. And some people thought that enough hadn't been accomplished; some thought that some- something had been accomplished, and some weren't quite sure. I know--for myself, I, I knew that things had changed; I'll speak for myself.$$Okay. How had they changed? I mean this (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Because, as I said earlier, that I wanted the young people who were coming into Mississippi, I wanted them to come and see, come and see what was going on, what was happening to us--the young white people who were coming and bringing the media and bringing the federal government into the State of Mississippi to see the brutality and the deaths, and to see the disenfranchisement, the humiliation, the wages--low wages; I wanted everything to be seen. And for me, I knew that Mississippi would never be the same again because it had been exposed to the whole world, and that, for me, was enough. It wasn't enough, but it was enough for me to say that never, never, never again would this happen, and I felt that voter registration, going to the Democratic Convention [1964 Democratic National Convention, Atlantic City, New Jersey], and encountering people from different congressional districts, and having gone to the seat of power, Humphrey [Hubert Humphrey] and the president of the United States [President Lyndon Baines Johnson] knows that we're here now, and our workers had been killed, and the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] had set up headquarters in Mississippi. J. Edgar Hoover had been down there and--searching for the bodies, and the whole state was saturated. No stone was left unturned, although they may have hidden something under them or may--something may have been left, but everything was wide open; Mississippi was wide open, and blacks had gained a sense of empowerment. There were no, no longer any twelve o'clock curfews in Clarksdale, Mississippi, ten o'clock curfews for blacks in Ruleville, Mississippi with the night watchman [J.W. Milam] who had killed Emmett Till serving as the night watchman in Ruleville, and these things were--got--were eradicated. I wanted everybody to come and see, come and see. And for me, I felt that a lot of that had been accomplished. Of course, we had a long way to go because Mississippi is still the poorest state in the union, and the economic part had to be dealt with. But just the humiliation of buying a dress and not being able to try it on. Not being--being told to get out of a restaurant or doctor's office. I know when I was about twelve years old--I had always suffered with sinusitis, and went into the doctor's office and they--woman--nurse came and told me, "Get the hell out of there and go in the back door." Now there was another door at the end of the hall, to go to that door. But the humiliation of day to day activities that you don't anticipate, but it's like everybody sees now, everybody knows what's going on, everybody knows that Herbert Lee was killed, Louis Allen was killed, Mickey Schwerner [Michael Schwerner] and James Chaney and Reverend Lee [George W. Lee] from Belzoni [Mississippi] was killed--they know that; they know Emmett Till was murdered. Emmett Till was murdered and his mama [Mamie Till Mobley] let everybody see his face. Mack Charles Parker was killed--he was thrown into the river; everybody knows that. How many deaths will it take? And they started naming all the names of people who'd been killed. So, that was my whole feeling about what had happened.$It was such a painful, painful time. Your, your mentor--the individual who had nurtured you and who had taught you, and who had taken time to teach you, and to see him gunned down like that, and you'd been with them the night before and said, "We'll see you tomorrow." And I went to both the trials, and Byron De La Beckwith, the murderer, came into the courtroom, they say he had already shot his wife [Mary Williams Beckwith] in the buttocks when he came to court. And his son [Byron De La Beckwith, Jr.] was there. The first judge was moderate; he said, "You could sit wherever you wanna sit." And it was quiet in the courtroom, so we'd come in and sit down; we'd come from Tougaloo [Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi] every day and observe. But one day I came, and this white man put his foot up on the seat to keep me from sitting down and I said, "The judge said we could sit wherever we wanna sit. Move your foot!" And he took his foot down. So, my buddy (laughter), Thomas Armstrong, who was with me--looked for Armstrong--Armstrong was sitting back there acting as if, if he didn't know me, but it didn't matter. The next day I came to court, these same men would say, "Here she comes; what she gonna do this time?" I said, "The same thing I did yesterday." 'Cause Mother [Annie Woullard Perryman] always told us, "Don't you back down; once you get into it, you stay in." And so, they found--they had a--but the way the jury was selected, William Waller who later became judge--the DA [district attorney] at that time, said--would say, when they selected a jury, "Medgar Evers was a nigger, he lived over in nigger town, I didn't agree with what he did, and I know you don't either, but it's my job to uphold the law. Do you think it's wrong for a white man to kill a nigger?" And some of them said--would say, "No," some indifferent, and so that's how he selected the first jury. The second trial--that was mistrial. The second trial, the Klu Klux Klan [sic. Ku Klux Klan, KKK] came, and they dominated the whole courtroom. The jailer--the bailiff had a big thick cane and made us go up to the balcony, and we had to sit in the balcony. But see, we had to time it just right because if we were there by the time they got out of court, we would get beaten, so we would leave and run down those marble steps. You know, in these courthouses, they had these marble steps and those old raggedy elevators? We would run down the steps and get away from the courthouse, and Farish Street [Jackson, Mississippi] was like--almost a mile from where we were; you had the courthouse and the jail right together, so we would (makes sound) run. And the second mis- this--Beckwith would come in for the Klan, they would give him a standing ovation, he would take his bow, and make his little speech and thank them, and they would applaud him and he would have his seat. And so, another mistrial was declared, and this time they--we got caught; they had let out so fast, we weren't able to get away, but Jesse Morris drove up (laughter) in one of those VW [Volkswagen] wagons, and said, "Do y'all need a ride?" And we said, "Yes," and we jumped in and flew, and that was divine intervention because they were very angry, very angry--you know, the Klan, 'cause they were there, and so we got away safely.

Larry Gossett

Political activist Larry Gossett was born Lawrence Edward Gossett on February 21, 1945, in Seattle, Washington. The son of Johnnie Evelyn Carter Gossett and Nelman Gossett, he grew up in Seattle’s southern and central areas. Gossett attended High Point and Horace Mann Elementary Schools and graduated from Franklin High School, where he was point guard on the basketball team. In 1963, Gossett was one of the few black males to attend the University of Washington.

In 1966, Gossett spent a year with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Through VISTA, he received community organizing training with Harlem Youth, Inc. Gossett came back to Seattle as “Oba” and went on to become the school’s first student to graduate with a degree in African American Studies. Gossett was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and a founder of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. He was a co-founder of the University of Washington’s Black Student Union (UWBSU) and used the organization to leverage the University of Washington’s Black Studies Program. Gossett attended the Black Youth Conference in Los Angeles, California in 1967 that featured James Forman, Harry Edwards, Tommie Smith and John Carlos. He was the organizer of the Seattle Alliance of Black Student Unions and helped organize nearly a dozen high school, middle school and collegiate black student unions throughout the Seattle area. On March 29, 1968, Gossett was arrested, but was later exonerated after leading a sit-in to protest the treatment of black students at Franklin High School.

In 1982, Gossett founded the Minority Executive Directors Coalition (MEDC). He served as the Executive Director for the Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP) from 1979 to 1993 and helped to provide job assistance, a food bank and programs for at-risk youth. In the mid-1980s, Gossett was involved in the presidential campaign of Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and was an organizer for the Rainbow Coalition. As president of the Rainbow Push Coalition, Gossett supported Norman B. Rice’s mayoral candidacy in 1989. In 1991, Washington’s King County Council was expanded from nine to thirteen members, and in 1993, Gossett won a seat representing Washington’s District 10, an area stretching from the Montlake Cut to Beacon Hill. As a councilman, Gossett has dedicated his time to the reformation of the criminal justice system, better public transportation and job opportunities for the poor and minorities.

Gossett serves as a member and chair of the King County Council. Gossett, a high profile black activist with strong ties to the Hispanic, Asian and Native American communities, was a prime mover in 1996 for changing the symbol of King County (Seattle) from 19th century slaveholder, Rufus Devane King to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The county’s official logo was changed to an image of Dr. King. There is a fifty-eight minute documentary produced by University of Washington television that features Gossett’s BSU activism. The film is called In Pursuit of Justice.

Accession Number

A2007.305

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/25/2007

Last Name

Gossett

Maker Category
Schools

Franklin High School

West Seattle Elementary School

Horace Mann Elementary School

George Washington Middle School

James A. Garfield High School

University of Washington

First Name

Larry

Birth City, State, Country

Seattle

HM ID

GOS02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Washington

Favorite Vacation Destination

Santa Barbara, California

Favorite Quote

I Am Proud To Serve You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Washington

Birth Date

2/21/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Seattle

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork Chops

Short Description

Civil rights activist and county council member Larry Gossett (1945 - ) represented the State of Washington's District 10. He was involved in the presidential campaign of Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and was an organizer for the Rainbow Coalition.

Employment

Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited

Central Area Motivation Program

King County Council

Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, University of Washington

Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Larry Gossett's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett talks about the history of Nigton, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about his parents' education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett talks about his father's profession

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Larry Gossett recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Larry Gossett describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Larry Gossett describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett talks about his elementary school education in Seattle, Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett remembers his favorite music and television shows

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s visit to Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about his elementary school education in Seattle, Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett remembers Washington's notable African American athletes

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett recalls playing basketball in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett describes his decision to attend the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Larry Gossett talks about the racial demographics of the University of Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett recalls the racial climate at the University of Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett describes his early perceptions of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett remembers joining the Volunteers in Service to America

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett recalls his work with Volunteers in Service to America in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about joining the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett describes the Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited programs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett talks about his civil rights activities in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett remembers the 1967 Black Youth Conference

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett recalls the agendas of the University of Washington's Black Student Union

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett describes the Black Student Union's sit-in at the University of Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett describes the Black Student Union's sit-in at the University of Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett recalls his arrest in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett talks about his early political aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett remembers his time in jail during the Seattle riots

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett describes his trial in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett describes his role as a student recruiter for the University of Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett talks about the founding of Seattle's Black Panther Party

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett describes the Central Area Motivation Program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett talks about the Rites of Passage Experience program at the Central Area Motivation Program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett recalls his election to the King County Council

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett talks about the renaming of King County, Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett talks about the renaming of King County, Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett talks about the original namesake of King County

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Herbert Randall

Photographer Herbert Eugene Randall, Jr. was born on December 16, 1936, in Bronx, New York, to factory worker Herbert Randall, Sr., and homemaker Jane Hunter. In 1951, Randall began studying with renowned photographer Harold Feinstein, an artist known for his black-and-white documentary photography. The following year, Randall worked as a freelance photographer for a variety of media organizations, including "Black Star," United Press International and the Associated Press. In 1963, Randall founded an African American photographer’s workshop, called the Kamoinge Workshop, in New York City, New York, alongside established photographers Lou Draper, Ray Francis, James Mannas, Herman Howard and Albert Fenner.

In 1964, Randall received a John Hay Whitney Fellowship and was encouraged by Sanford R. Leigh, the Director of Mississippi Freedom Summer's Hattiesburg project, to photograph the effects of the Civil Rights Movement in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Randall photographed volunteers in a variety of projects, including the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party campaign and voter registration drives. One of Randall’s most famous photographs was published that summer, the photo of the bloody and concussed Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld, head of a prominent Cleveland Congregation and former World War II objector. Randall returned to New York in 1965, and served as supervisor of photography for Bedford Stuyvesant Youth In Action, Inc. In 1968, Randall joined the Brooklyn Children’s Museum as a photography instructor, and in his spare time became South Bronx Youth Village’s photographic consultant. Between 1970 and 1974, Randall was the New York City Board of Education Multi-Media Project Coordinator of Photography. During this period, Randall was awarded the Creative Artists Public Service (CAPS) Grant for photography.

In 1974, the National Media Center Foundation hired Randall as a photographic consultant, where he would remain until 1981, when he moved to the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, New York, and began working as a custodian and school bus driver. In 1999, Randall donated the his photography archives – nearly 2,000 negatives – to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The school organized a traveling exhibition consisting of one-hundred of the photographs ending in 2003. University of Southern Mississippi Archivist Bobs M. Tusa joined Randall in 2001, to write "Faces of Freedom Summer," which tells the story of Randall’s photographs from Mississippi Freedom Summer. The following year, Randall’s work was exhibited as a part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Week celebration at Stanford University. Randall’s work has been exhibited at galleries across the country, including the Brooklyn Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Baltimore’s Cultural Arts Gallery.

Herbert Eugene Randall, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 28, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.276

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/28/2007

Last Name

Randall

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

P.S. 23 The New Children's School

New York City College of Technology

J.H.S. 51

Food Trades Vocational High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Herbert

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

RAN07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/16/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Southampton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Photographer Herbert Randall (1936 - ) photographed the Mississippi Freedom Summer’s Hattiesburg Project in 1964 and donated his archive of negatives to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

Employment

Associated Press (AP)

Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth in Action

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

New York (N.Y.).--Dept. of Education

National Media Center Foundation

Indians of North America -- New York (State) -- Long Island.

South Bronx Youth Village

Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herbert Randall's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herbert Randall lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herbert Randall describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herbert Randall talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herbert Randall describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herbert Randall describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herbert Randall describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herbert Randall describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Herbert Randall remembers his neighborhood in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herbert Randall remembers the arrival of heroin in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herbert Randall reflects upon his upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herbert Randall remembers his early church experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herbert Randall remembers his early exposure to film and music

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herbert Randall describes his schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herbert Randall remembers his early interest in photography

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herbert Randall recalls his training under Harold Feinstein

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herbert Randall remembers his U.S. Army service in Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herbert Randall talks about the Kamoinge Workshop

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Herbert Randall describes New York City's Harlem neighborhood, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herbert Randall describes New York City's Harlem neighborhood, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herbert Randall talks about his photography

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herbert Randall recalls his decision to photograph the Mississippi Freedom Summer

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herbert Randall remembers meeting with Julian Bond in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herbert Randall remembers the SNCC training session in Oxford, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herbert Randall recalls an encounter with a police officer in rural Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herbert Randall remembers his arrival in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herbert Randall reflects upon his involvement in the Mississippi Freedom Summer, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Herbert Randall recalls the subjects of his photographs in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Herbert Randall recalls a conversation with Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herbert Randall remembers photographing Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herbert Randall remembers his host family in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herbert Randall remembers communicating with his family during the Freedom Summer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herbert Randall reflects upon his experiences in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herbert Randall recalls donating his film negatives to the University of Southern Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herbert Randall recalls his work with the Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth in Action

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herbert Randall remembers his wedding in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herbert Randall talks about his son's career

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herbert Randall talks about his experiences as an educator

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herbert Randall describes the Shinnecock reservation in Southampton, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herbert Randall talks about exhibiting his photography

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herbert Randall reflects upon his involvement in the Mississippi Freedom Summer, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herbert Randall remembers the leaders of the Mississippi Freedom Summer

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herbert Randall describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Herbert Randall remembers his early interest in photography
Herbert Randall recalls his decision to photograph the Mississippi Freedom Summer
Transcript
When you were in high school [Food and Maritime Trades Vocational High School, New York, New York] did you have any particular aspiration or idea about what you were gonna do?$$Well, the thing is that you're always taught, al- always taught, you know, you get a, you get a good job, you know, you get a good job, and that's never defined what the job is and what does, what does good mean? But, you get a job and whatever. So aspirations, no you just, you know you have to finish school, you know you have to finish high school, and maybe you'd get a good job or something, no.$$So how did you start taking photographs?$$Well that happened when I went to, I went to a community college, New York City Community College [New York City College of Technology]. And, it was in Brooklyn [New York]. And the, the col- the college had nothing to do with, (laughter) with the photographs but, the outside interest, I had a friend at the time, Alvin Simon, who was interested in photography and he--. Well actually in nineteen fifty- what was it '55 [1955], or 1956? I saw a, either my father [Herbert Randall, Sr.] or my sister brought home a book, well they would always bring home books, but this sp- specific one was, was Langston Hughes and Roy DeCarava, Langston Hughes of course is Langston Hughes and Roy DeCarava is a fa- fantastic photographer. And it was called 'The Sweet Flypaper of Life' [Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes], okay? And this is the first time that I had seen black folks in any kind of visual material that were treated as people, you know? And I was just very impressed by it and, and then about the same period of time, there was a major exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City [New York, New York], it was titled 'The Family of Man' and Alvin took me to, or we went to see the exhibit. I was really impressed by the, some of the photographs there. So, that's pretty much how I started and Alvin, you know, gave me whatever help he could in terms of how to do, you know, how to do these things technically.$You're freelancing in Harlem [New York, New York], and event- eventually in 1964 you go to Mississippi.$$Yeah.$$Can you tell us a little bit about--$$I could tell you (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) the progression?$$I could tell you a lot about (laughter)--$$Please.$$But, in 1964, I think it was April, April of 1964, the last of April, 1964, I'd gotten worried that I had received the John Hay Whitney fellowship [John Hay Whitney Foundation] for photography, it was basically, do a year's photographic project, program. And so, in the proposal that I'd written to the foundation I had said that I had needed to do some photographing in the South, I'd never been south before, why had I never been south? Because I never wanted to go south before 'cause I, you know, I didn't remember if I could remember to sit on the back of the bus or the side of the bus or whoever the bus. I just never had been south before. So, I had a fr- I, I had, I have a friend, as a matter of fact I just saw her not to long ago, Julie Pr- Prettyman, at the time, Julie Poussaint [Julia Poussaint] now. Well, sh- she was running the SNCC office, SNCC of course is Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee office in Manhattan in New York [New York]. So she was running the office, I knew Julie and so Julie had said, "Herb [HistoryMaker Herbert Randall], you know, since you have to go and do some work in the South, we have a summer project that's coming up in June," 'cause this was like April, May, and she says, "You know, maybe you, you could go down there and help the, help the projects, and also, you know, get some in, the work that you want to do." And so I said, "Oh that sounds, you know, that sounds interesting. Where? Where is your project?" And she said, "Mississippi." And I said--I forget a lot 'cause that was a long time ago, I re- don't remember exactly, but I can remember exactly what I said to her: "There is no way in hell I'm going to no Mississippi, you know. No." But anyhow she said, "Well, think about it." So I thought about, and I didn't think I was gonna go. So anyhow she has said that there was a meeting to be held for volunteers you know and why don't I just go and check it out. So I went to the meeting, it was at the church center in Manhattan, and Sandy Leigh [Sanford R. Leigh] who was a project director of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, he was there and he was trying to get people to go down to Mississippi. And so he finished his talk, and I don't know why he came up to me, or maybe the reason why he came up to me 'cause I was one of the few blacks in the audience, maybe, I don't know. Anyhow, so he said, "Oh," you know, "how, are you planning to go to Mississippi?" And I said, "Well I don't really think so." So he said, "Well, you know, you know, you should, maybe you should go," and blah-blah. Anyhow, he found out that I was a photographer and he said, "Oh, no, no, no. You gotta, you have to come to Mississippi, and you have to document my program." So Sandy was up in New York for maybe two weeks, we hit every bar in Harlem as I remember (laughter) and there's a lot of bars in Harlem. And he--it was important for me to know who I was gonna work for if I was gonna go and do something like that, you know 'cause you're in a crappy situation (laughter) and, you know, and if you can kind of coexist with the people you're working with it's even better, or your so-called boss or whoever. So, Sandy and I got along fine and he--so I said, "Well, okay," you know, "that--," then I decided to go.

Wade Hudson

Children’s book publisher and author Wade Hudson, Jr. was born on October 23, 1946 in Mansfield, Louisiana, the first of eight children to Wade and Lurline Hudson. Hudson grew up in Mansfield and attended Desoto High School, graduating in 1964. He went on to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he became involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the mid-1960s. Hudson worked for several civil rights organizations in the South and was one of the “Baton Rogue Three,” three African American men falsely arrested because of their involvement with civil rights activities. He has also worked as a newspaper reporter, a public relations specialist and served as executive director of Pure Energy Music Publishing, a music publishing company he owned with his brothers. The company gave Madonna the hit song, “Holiday.” Hudson earned a certificate from the Channel 13 film and television program in New York City in 1975. The program was established to provide opportunities for minorities in the film and television industry. Hudson is also an established playwright, having authored a number of plays that have been performed on the professional stage. They include Sam Carter Belongs Here, A House Divided and A Black Love Story.

Hudson met his wife, Cheryl Willis Hudson, in 1971, while visiting Boston, Massachusetts. The couple was married in 1972 in Portsmouth, Virginia, Cheryl Hudson’s hometown. They gave birth to their first child, Katura in 1976. Unable to find African American art to adorn their daughter’s nursery, Mrs. Hudson decided to create her own designs. Ultimately, she was inspired to create a children’s book, and although she and Hudson attempted to shop it around to various publishing companies, they were unsuccessful. In 1982, the couple’s second child, Stephan J. Hudson, was born, and three years later, the Hudson’s again revived their idea of creating African American children’s art.

In 1985, the Hudsons developed the AFRO-BETS kids, black characters who twist themselves into the shape of the alphabet. Two years later, after further rejections from various publishers, they invested $7,000 and self-published AFRO-BETS ABC, which featured the AFRO-BETS Kids. The couple received attention from leading education magazines and black bookstores, which carried the books. After the AFRO-BETS books sold out within three months, the Hudsons decided to establish their own publishing company, Just Us Books, Inc. It is now one of the most successful Black owned publishing companies in the world, publishing books and educational material for children focusing on black history, experiences and culture. Just Us Books, Inc. is the only Black owned publishing company that focuses exclusively on publishing Black interest books for children and young adults.

Hudson serves as president of the company, managing the business and marketing responsibilities, while Cheryl handles serves as editor. Because of Hudson’s marketing success with Just Us Books, major companies such as Harper Collins and Scholastic, Inc. hired him as a marketing consultant to boost their sales in the African American market.
In 1990, Just Us Books, Inc. introduced a bi-monthly newspaper for young people entitled Harambee, which would later win a Parent's Choice Award. The company landed its first major account, a $40,000 order with Toys 'R'Us. Throughout the 1990s, the couple continued publishing critically acclaimed children's literature, including Afro-Bets Book of Black Heroes (1989), the company’s biggest seller to date, Bright Eyes, Brown Skin (1990) and Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs and Kid Caramel, the first contemporary mystery series that would focus on young, black male characters. In 1997, Income Opportunities Magazine named Hudson and his wife, “Small Business Pioneers of the Year.” The Hudsons have received many awards for their contributions to young people, literature and to their community. In 2004, the Hudsons began the Sankofa imprint, which publishes books by outstanding African American writers and authors that are no longer in print. Books by such noted authors as James Haskins, Rosa Guy, Camille Yarbrough and Eleanora E. Tate have been republished.

Hudson is also a celebrated author. His books have been published by his own company and by publishers such as Scholastic, Abingdon Press and Children’s Press. Some of the books authored by Hudson include Powerful Words: More Than Two Hundred Years of Extraordinary Writing by African Americans, Pass It On, African American Poetry for Children, Jamal’s Busy Day and The Underground Railroad. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the Stephen Crane Award for his writing, and he was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent in 2004. Hudson serves on many boards, including the Langston Hughes Library at the Children’s Defense Fund and he is a Deacon at his church, Imani Baptist Church in East Orange, New Jersey. He lectures around the country on topics such as writing, publishing, black history and culture and black empowerment.

Wade Hudson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 28, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.173

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/28/2007

Last Name

Hudson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Desoto High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

DeSoto Parish Training School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Wade

Birth City, State, Country

Mansfield

HM ID

HUD03

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Adults

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

None

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Youth, Adults

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

10/23/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

East Orange

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Fiction writer and book publishing executive Wade Hudson (1946 - ) published children's books. Hudson was the co-founder of Just Us Books, Inc. and the developer of AFRO-BETS kids books. He served as president of the company, managing the business and marketing aspects.

Employment

Just Us Books, In.

Delete

Shreveport Sun

Baton Rouge News Leader

Pure Energy Music Publishing, Inc.

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wade Hudson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wade Hudson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wade Hudson describes the role of religion in the African American community

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wade Hudson remembers his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wade Hudson remembers the racial discrimination in Mansfield, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wade Hudson describes segregation in Mansfield, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wade Hudson describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Wade Hudson remembers his paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wade Hudson describes the African American community in Mansfield, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wade Hudson describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wade Hudson remembers his neighborhood in Mansfield, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wade Hudson recalls the DeSoto Parish Training School in Mansfield, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wade Hudson describes the religious community in Mansfield, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wade Hudson recalls his experiences on the mourner's bench

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wade Hudson remembers his baptism

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wade Hudson recalls serving as the assistant secretary of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Mansfield, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wade Hudson remembers his aspiration to play professional baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wade Hudson describes his early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wade Hudson talks about his early interest in writing

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wade Hudson recalls his decision to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Wade Hudson describes his aspirations while at Southern University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Wade Hudson recalls registering voters in Mississippi and Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wade Hudson recalls his parents' opinions of his civil rights activities

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wade Hudson recalls changing his political views while in college

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wade Hudson describes the marches on the Louisiana State Capitol by students at Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wade Hudson recalls the protests on campus at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wade Hudson describes his arrest for conspiracy to commit murder, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wade Hudson describes his arrest for conspiracy to commit murder, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wade Hudson Wade Hudson describes his arrest for conspiracy to commit murder, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wade Hudson remembers being drafted into the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wade Hudson recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wade Hudson describes his career as a newspaper columnist

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wade Hudson describes his activities in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Wade Hudson remembers founding Just Us Books, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Wade Hudson reflects upon his challenges and successes at Just Us Books, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Wade Hudson lists his siblings

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Wade Hudson remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Wade Hudson talks about Pure Energy Music Publishing, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Wade Hudson reflects upon the role of African American publishers

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Wade Hudson describes his collaboration with Scholastic Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Wade Hudson describes his role at Just Us Books, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Wade Hudson describes the strengths of small publishing companies

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Wade Hudson talks about his religious involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Wade Hudson reflects upon his awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Wade Hudson reflects upon the readership of Just Us Books, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Wade Hudson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Wade Hudson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$1

DAStory

5$5

DATitle
Wade Hudson remembers founding Just Us Books, Inc.
Wade Hudson remembers the racial discrimination in Mansfield, Louisiana
Transcript
(Simultaneous) But when you became a couple you started to collaborate, I think, about ideas for books? How did that come about?$$You know, actually our relationship, the, the write- the book thing for children didn't really happen until '70s [1970s]--'87 [1987], '88 [1988]. My playwriting career really started to take off when we came from Boston [Massachusetts], well, let me back up. While we were living in Boston, I applied for a program that Channel 13 [WNET-TV, New York, New York] had to get more minorities in film and television and I was accepted. So that's why we moved from Boston to this area and we, rather than live in New York [New York] we moved to New Jersey 'cause it was cheaper and, and Cheryl [HistoryMaker Cheryl Willis Hudson] had a cousin who helped us find an apartment here. And so that program lasted for a year and so we just, just stayed here. Now, during that, that time, I became involved with a theater group here in, in Newark [New Jersey] called the Theater of Universal Images. And I had probably five plays over, over some years that were produced by that theater company. And, and Cheryl, actually, you know, did some of the, the advertising, illustrations, and things like that for, for, for the plays, playbills and things like that. So we still collaborated but it wasn't for children's books. Now, my first, first children's book was a book called 'Beebe's Lonely Saturday' [Wade Hudson] and it was published by New Dimension press out of New York, it's no longer in business. And it was, and I did another one to, what was that other one called? I did two books for that company. And it was mostly for the educational market. And so all these things were happening before we even decided to launch our own publishing company which happened in, actually we formed the company in '88 [1988] but we had started producing books and T-shirts and posters.$$What made you go from playwriting to producing books, T-shirts, and posters?$$Well, actually, Cheryl had an idea for a group of characters.$$Well, your daughter is born and, and that has something to do with it; right?$$That, that did but, but--$$This is before she's born?$$Yeah, but what I'm saying is like Cheryl had a idea and I think the idea that Cheryl had was a, a result of her and I, and myself too, not finding books and images for Katura [Katura J. Hudson] that reflect our environment, our culture. So I think that, and she can probably speak to that, but I think that led her to creating a group of characters she called the 'AFRO-BETS' kids. But they were, she had a character for each alphabet, so (laughter) as a playwright I'm saying well, you really can't, can't handle that many characters, you know. So we, we ended up narrowing the characters down to, to six characters and we gave them, you know, names and, you know, personalities and blah, blah, blah. And we started doing T-shirts with the characters and then the 'AFRO-BETS ABC Book' [Cheryl Willis Hudson] was our first venture, book that Cheryl wrote. And that book really took off and we did some really good marketing and publicity behind it and we printed five thousand copies which was a pretty good printing for a, for a couple that doesn't know what they're doing (laughter). And, and we sold those five thousand copies in about three months, three or four months, you know, and then we did a rush back to, to do another five thousand printing. And then so we ended up starting the company, Just Us Books [Just Us Books, Inc.], because we recognized that we were on to something and that's how Just Us Books started. And then we followed the 'ABC Book' with the counting book, the 'AFRO-BETS 123 Book' [Cheryl Willis Hudson]. And then the third book we did was a book that I and Valerie Wilson Wesley wrote together called, the AFRO-BETS' 'Book of Black Heroes' ['Book of Black Heroes from A to Z: An Introduction to Important Black Achievers for Young Readers,' Wade Hudson and Valerie Wilson Wesley], where we featured blacks who had made significant contributions to society. And we would present it alphabetically, you know, Muhammad Ali, you know, with A. And so that's how we, we, we launched the, the, the company.$How did your [maternal] grandfather [Theodore Jones] deal with racism that existed in Mansfield [Louisiana]?$$You know, very seldom did they talk about it, you know. It was, I think that they recognized it was the way it was, you know, and, and I don't remember, I mean, very few people as I can recall when I was growing up, really dealt with racism. I mean, in terms of talking about it and, or talking about white folks. I mean, it, you know, generally they would say, you know, white people are crazy just like, you know, white people will say, those folks are crazy. But in terms of dealing with it in any, any systemic way or even expressing how they really felt, I don't recall that really happening. It was, people talked about what was happening in other places but not in, in Mansfield. I, I think you have to understand because it was such a, it's such a small area and almost provincial, you know, that most black people knew most white people and most white people knew most black people. And, and so there was like this, this relationship, you know, that's written about, you know, obviously been written about by, by many black writers, where folks had sort of learned to accept the status quo and, you know, you didn't really talk about it. And, and I don't recall other than a few situations where white people in Mansfield really said any negative things to us. But the system itself, you know, which was, was in place, so, you really didn't have to.$$Did your parents [Lurline Jones Hudson and Wade Hudson, Sr.] or grandparents ever get the opportunity in those days to vote?$$No, no.$$Did they ever talk about it?$$No, nope. I don't even think they even had any expectations of voting. Mansfield, blacks started to vote in Mansfield, if I remember, I wanna make sure I get the, the year correct, either '68 [1968] or '69 [1969]. And that happened, 'cause when I was in college [Southern University; Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana] I, I joined a number of civil rights organizations including SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference]. And so we, you know, I said listen, you know, we need to go to my hometown of Mansfield because see the thing about the civil rights struggle that most people don't really understand, that it had to be fought almost like a war, you had to go to different cities and towns and actually confront the power structure in those towns to change things. I mean, what, the laws were passed but it wasn't this, you know, a, a magic wand and say, okay, everything is all right, you had to go to different towns and fight the power structure. And even today if you go to some of these small towns in Mississippi and Alabama, many of them are like they were thirty, forty, fifty years ago, you know, because nobody has gone there to really confront the, the power structure to get that, to get it to change. So, you know, it, Mansfield was, you know, it was an extremely, extremely segregated place. And I think that the system was so successfully put in place that blacks didn't even contest.

The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III

Former state Senator Clarence M. Mitchell III was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on December 14, 1939. A member of the illustrious Mitchell family of Baltimore, Mitchell grew up in Baltimore, attending the city’s public schools. After graduating from Gonzaga High School, Mitchell attended the University of Maryland and Morgan State University, earning his J.D. degree from the University of Baltimore Law School.

Coming from a family well known for their commitment to advocacy, Mitchell was a cofounder of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960; he also worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1963, Mitchell was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served until 1967; that year, he became the youngest person to serve in the Maryland State Senate. Mitchell remained in the Maryland Senate for nearly two decades, finally stepping down in 1986. While in the State Senate, Mitchell served as the deputy majority leader; the majority whip; the chairman of the executive nominations committee; the co-chair of the joint committee on federal relations; and was a member of the judicial proceedings committee. Mitchell also served as the president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators from 1979 to 1981.

During his time in office, Mitchell was involved in a number of legislative achievements, including the creation of the Maryland Office of Minority Business Enterprise, and Maryland’s first Fair Employment Bill, which he sponsored. Mitchell served as a special advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Vice President Hubert Humphrey; he also served as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1964, 1968, 1976, 1980 and 1984.

Mitchell went on to become the president and CEO of Vanguard, Inc., an international government affairs, public relations, and business development consulting company; he also co-founded and served as chairman of the Center for the Study of Harassment of African Americans.

Hon. Clarence Mitchell passed away on October 10, 2012.

Accession Number

A2004.071

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/11/2004 |and| 8/6/2004

Last Name

Mitchell

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Gonzaga High School

Henry Highland Garnet Elementary School

Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts

University of Maryland

Morgan State University

First Name

Clarence

Birth City, State, Country

St. Paul

HM ID

MIT06

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Minnesota

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Arundel On The Bay, Maryland

Favorite Quote

He’s An Old Blind Bear Alone In The Winter Woods, With Only The Smell Of His Breath For Comfort. Too Mean To Die, Too Old To Care. But Show Some Caution. He’s Still The Bear.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/14/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Seafood

Death Date

10/10/2012

Short Description

State senator The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III (1939 - 2012 ) was involved in the creation of the Maryland Office of Minority Business Enterprise and Maryland’s first Fair Employment Bill. He served as a special advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Vice President Hubert Humphrey. He is currently the president and CEO of Vanguard, Inc., an international government affairs, public relations, and business development consulting company.

Employment

Maryland General Assembly

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III's interview

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III lists his favorites

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his mother's family history

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III describes his maternal family's show business

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his maternal grandmother's civil rights work

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III reflects on the loss of grassroots organizing

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls a political lesson learned from Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about the heritage of political organizing that originated in the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell III details his mother's educational achievements

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell III recalls his mother's political work

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III explains how his family combined activism with a legal strategy in their political work

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his father's early life and education

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his father's work for the NAACP

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III reflects on the legacy of his father's political career

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III describes his father's loyalty to the NAACP and the cause of civil rights

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls his early childhood memories of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III explains the value of political organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his elementary and junior high schools in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III remembers learning the similarity between the streets and the government

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III describes his experience at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III lists his extracurricular activities at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls his experience at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III remembers the founding conference for SNCC in 1960 at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III remembers Ella Baker

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about the split among black ministers regarding the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his transition from treasurer of SNCC to his early political career in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls his brother's assault in Annapolis, Maryland in 1963

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls his campaign and election to the Maryland State Legislature

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls his first year as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about the origins of the March on Washington in 1963

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III recalls the aftermath of the Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about the Freedom Summer of 1964

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his political consultancy

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III explains the difference between national and local politics

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about the disenfranchisement in Florida during the 2000 presidential election

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III details his recommendations for politically organizing the African American community

DASession

2$2

DATape

5$7

DAStory

6$7

DATitle
The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III talks about his maternal grandmother's civil rights work
The Honorable Clarence Mitchell, III remembers learning the similarity between the streets and the government
Transcript
--I just want to talk about Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson--$$Lillie Mae Carroll.$$And she--her political organizing, and then your mother's [Juanita Elizabeth Jackson Mitchell] history, and then we'll get to your father [Clarence Maurice Mitchell, Jr.], and bring all that in.$$Sure. Well, my grandmother, Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson, was a patient at Johns Hopkins Hospital [Baltimore, Maryland]. And a doc went in for an operation, the doctor made a mistake and severed the mastoid muscle in her face. In order to cover up his mistake, he had wheeled her out to where the cadavers were and pronounced her dead. He left the hospital. An intern came by, and her arm moved. And the intern said, "Oh, this lady's still alive!" and had her wheeled back into the operating room. And she said, and used to say quite often, "As I lay on that operating table, I made a commitment to the Lord. I said, if you allow me to live, to raise my children, I will work for you on behalf of my people and I will serve the people." And that was her commitment on a hospital gurney after she had been pronounced dead and was given another chance at life. Her face was twisted and that's what it came from. So she, in raising her kids, also was involved in the community and that sort of thing. And then Dr. Carl [J.] Murphy, who was then the head of The Afro [Afro-American Company], met with her and asked her if she would revive the Baltimore [Maryland] branch of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]. That it had been faltering, there was no activity. And he committed that, "If you'll take the leadership, I'll back you up with my newspaper, with The Afro. The Afro will be there for you." And she agreed to do that. And as a result, through her labor, she organized an NAACP branch in every county from the State of Maryland. She had--the Baltimore branch for many years was the largest branch in the country, even though there were other cities that had far greater black populations. She had a network of membership recruiters in every church, every community organization. And she would go tirelessly from church to church, checking in with the NAACP membership committee of the church, and our--now, most pastors, they don't want no outside committees raising money in the church. So for her to have been able to persuade so many pastors to have an official NAACP membership committee in the church was a tribute to her sales ability.$$Talk about that some. I think you talked about what her method was. There was a certain sweetness that she applied to these things and was able to get great results.$$Oh yes. She was always about sweetness. Like I said earlier, you know, she always told us, "It's nice to be nice." And she would say to us, when she wanted to get us to do something that we really didn't want to do, she done that grandma sweet-sugar "Come on over here. I gotta get you to do this." Well, she had that same kind of--not those exact words, but that's how she treated the pastors. She would say to the pastors, "Now, you know I need you on this. Now, we gotta put this in place." And, you know, she would play up to their egos. And those preachers, when my grandmother was finished with those preachers, boy, their chests would be sticking out they'd give her anything she wanted. My grandmother would go into churches on Sundays, I'm not talking about what somebody told me. She used to take us along with her. And she would go into churches. She would hit three or four churches a Sunday, and go right up to the front of the church, sit right up on the front row, get the pastor's attention, and eventually the pastor would say, "All right, now we have Dr. Lillie Jackson here. We're gonna give her about five minutes, Mrs. Jackson." And she would stand up, when she'd finish she'd have about ten, fifteen minutes but she had made her appeal for NAACP memberships, or made her appeal for attendance at a big rally, civil rights rally. My grandmother had thousands of people at her rallies. But it was hard work. A lot of folks want to sit back now and you know, issue a call through the media and expect people to show up.$One of my proudest days was being able to get the governor [of Maryland] to appoint a young district court judge, who happened to be the son of the number-two numbers-banker in the city [Baltimore, Maryland]. And when--I had heard comment, they were saying, "how could this boy be-?" Now, he had gotten his son through law school and all that sort of thing, you know, to be able to move up. And the comment among some of the district court judges was, "Old [HistoryMaker Clarence] Mitchell's [III] putting this numbers banker's son on the court." And so I spoke for his investiture, and in speaking for his investiture, I said, "I am very proud to be here to support the elevation of this young man, whose father was an entrepreneur in the tradition of the Kennedys." (Laughter) Of course, everybody knew what that meant. [President John Fitzgerald] Kennedy's old man [Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy] was into illegal activities, and so his father [Patrick Joseph "P.J." Kennedy] had been, too. But in he was an "entrepreneur in the tradition of the Kennedys", and the chief district court judge was Irish, you know? Man, you coulda--it looked like I had shot him, when I said that. Because he was one of the biggest ones talking about this kid, should not because of what his father was about. And then the state ended up taking up numbers anyway and legalizing them and collected all the money. But, you know, those kinds--one of the things that--growing up in the environment I grew up in made me understand not to sit in judgement of what other people do. That in many instances in life, people are forced to do whatever they got to do in order to survive. And when I got into the political process, I really saw how white folks sit back pontificating on whether or not black folks are being--following the rules, and that sort of thing, when they make rules to accommodate their illegal activity. They, you know--they--if there's something that they want to do and it's not legal, they go ahead and pass laws to make it legal. And that's what the legislative process, I discovered, was. And I came back, everybody was saying to me, "Oh you're twenty-two years old. You can't deal with the weighty problems of a legislative body." And these were some of the older adults who were talking about me. But after two weeks in the House [Maryland House of Delegates], I came back to the community for one of our community meetings, I said, "Ah, I thought this was going to be some kind of--this ain't nothing but a street thing. And I came out of the streets, I can handle this." (Laughter). The legislative process is a street thing. You help me with what I want to get, I'll help you with what you want to get, and they're not sitting there thinking about the facts. They're not sitting there thinking about the impact. The bottom line is: they want to get what they want. If you can help them get what they want, then you'll get what you want.